Adapted from review by Mari-Jane Williams Post Points
Children's wellness is influenced by many factors including adequate sleep, physical exercise, personal/social relationships, and healthy eating. If you are trying to figure out how to teach your children good eating habits and how to have a healthy relationship with food, check out, Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School.
The book, written by two dietitians Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobson, offers recipes and tips on meal planning, nutrition and fitting cooking into a busy schedule. Here are some tips, from the book:
*Rotate different fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and protein sources frequently in your child's diet. The more variety your child eats... the better her chances are of meeting specific nutrient requirements. Remember not to get hung up on how your child eats one day; instead, consider her intake over the course of the week.
*Instead of overcontrolling how much children eat ("You can have one cookie"), allow them to enjoy the sweets in a focused way until they are satisfied: "Let's sit at the table and enjoy the cookies."
*Serve meals family-style and allow your child to serve himself, helping him if he is under five years old. Serving items separately instead of mixing foods can help.
*Add foods to your teen's diet that lower cholesterol naturally: oats; barley; beans; eggplant; okra; nuts; vegetable oils; strawberries; citrus fruits; apples; grapes; soy; fatty fish; and foods fortified with sterols and stanols, such as margarine, granola, and chocolate.
"Pathways to Wellness" - this year's theme for Mental Health Month - calls attention to strategies and approaches that help all Americans achieve wellness and good mental and overall health. Wellness involves complete general, mental and social well-being, and mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families.
How does domestic violence affect children?
Domestic violence often includes child abuse. Children may be victimized and threatened as a way of punishing and controlling the adult victim of domestic violence. Or they may be injured unintentionally when acts of violence occur in their presence. Often episodes of domestic violence expand to include attacks on children. However, even when children are not directly attacked, they can experience serious emotional damage as a result of living in a violent household. Children living in this environment come to believe that this behavior is acceptable.
The estimated overlap between domestic violence and child physical or sexual abuse ranges from 30 to 50 percent. Some shelters report that the first reason many battered women give for fleeing the home is that the perpetrator was also attacking the children. Victims report multiple concerns about the effects of spousal abuse on children.
In Arlington County if you suspect Child Abuse (Child Protective Services) call 703-228-1500.
Parents More Influential Than Schools in Academic Success
Parents who want their children to succeed academically in school have more influence over that outcome than the schools themselves, according to a study by researchers from three universities.
"The effort that parents are putting in at home in terms of checking homework, reinforcing the importance of school, and stressing the importance of academic achievement is ultimately very important to their children's academic achievement," Dr. Toby Parcel, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. and a co-author of the study, told Education Week.
To arrive at their findings, researchers used the National Education Longitudinal Study data to evaluate social capital at home and at school. Parcel said her group evaluated results from 10,000 12th graders, taking into account their composite test scores in math, reading, science, and history to measure achievement levels.
Researchers compared measures of "family social capital" and "school social capital," discovering that even in schools that had low social capital, students were more likely to excel if their family social capital scores were high.
Measures of family social capital included:
• Does the parent check the student's homework?
• Does the parent attend school meetings?
• Does the parent attend school events?
• How much trust does the parent have in the child?
• How often do students report discussing school programs, activities, and classes with parents?
"In part what's going on is that, when the children's parents are engaged in those ways, then the children pick up on it. They think, 'School is important. My parents think it's important,' and that increases their attachment to education, which translates into better achievement," Parcel said.
To measure school social capital, which is defined as a school's ability to serve as a positive environment for learning, the researchers evaluated:
• Student participation in extracurricular activities;
• Whether the school contacted parents;
• The level of teacher morale;
• The level of conflict between teachers and administrators;
• Whether teachers responded to individual student needs; and
• An overall measure of school environment that tapped delinquency, absenteeism, and violence.
Parcel and co-authors Dr. Mikaela Dufur, of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and Kelly Troutman, a Ph.D. student at the University of California-Irvine, reported their findings in "Does Capital at Home Matter More than Capital at School?: Social Capital Effects on Academic Achievement," which was published online Sept. 5 by the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.
Small Counseling Groups at Nottingham 2012-13
The purpose of a counseling group at school is to complement and enhance student learning by helping students improve their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. A psycho-educational group provides a safe setting where children increase their: 1) self-awareness, 2) cooperation and communication skills, and 3) ability to have fun with peers. Children learn from each other and help each other. Ultimately, the goal of an elementary support group is to PREVENT problems in the future by teaching children new skills.
The counselors are getting ready to start small groups in early October. To help us prioritize the groups we offer and the order we conduct them we need to know if you are interested in your child participating in a small group with one of us this year. Groups generally meet for 25-40 minutes per week with the number of sessions dependent on the purpose and needs of the group. This is our starting list but other groups can be added as needed:
Friendship Groups / Social Skill Development (Grades 1-4) 6-11 sessions
Friendship Groups are a fun way for students in the same grade level to make new friends and practice their social skills in a safe, small group setting. Children are invited to participate in friendship groups for a variety of reasons. A few examples include: a child who is shy or often appears to play alone during free choice time or recess, a child exhibiting behaviors that unknowingly (to the child) “turn off” others, a child who repeatedly complains of not having any friends, a child who has a hard time initiating friendships, a child who lacks self-confidence, and/or who needs a confidence boost, or a child who is very accepting and easily befriends other children (always a very beneficial addition to a group). Role models are welcome!
Emotion Management (Grades 2- 4) 8-11 sessions
These groups are designed to assist children in developing strategies to help them understand their feelings and put them in perspective so they can better relax , cope, learn and have fun with friends. The child who might benefit from being in this group may worry a lot, may show a great deal of resistance to try new experiences, may often seem anxious, have a lot of fears and/or make frequent trips to the nurse for headaches and tummy aches. Children who exhibit one of the above, or a combination, can develop understanding and coping strategies in a fun, safe environment.
Impulse Control (Grades 1 & 2) 9-10 sessions
By utilizing the principles of learning such as modeling, role-playing, feedback and transfer students will be taught prosocial behaviors. Children will be encouraged to “think before they act” by providing them with new skills, sufficient practice and reinforcement in their home and school environments.
Families In Separate Homes (Grade 1) or All Kinds of Families (Grade 3) 8-9 sessions
Family Change Groups are for students whose family is something other than the traditional mom, dad, and child(ren). These groups are beneficial to students by enabling them to meet other children going through a similar experience. Many students find comfort in discovering they are “not the only one” in the school with a family that has experienced a change or does not look like the families of most of their classmates. Students also develop a greater comfort discussing feelings and skills they might need to express themselves.
Study Skills and Organization Groups (Grades 4 & 5) 6-8 sessions
Being successful in school and building a solid academic foundation is important to future success. Based on the specific needs of the group skill building activities will be taught, practiced, encouraged, structured, and maintained for children to be successful. These skills may consist of listening, focusing, being organized, using time efficiently, knowing how to study, completing homework, knowing how to take tests, and maintaining a good attitude are all essential skills for school success.
Girl Empowerment (Grades 4 & 5) 6-7 sessions
These groups are designed to strengthen self-esteem and self-perception. The groups promote awareness about how certain environments can affect self-esteem and encourages resiliency.
5th Grade Book & Bag Lunch (Separate Groups for Girls and Boys) 6-7 sessions
All 5th grade students are invited to participate in a 5th Grade book discussion group at lunch that will focus on peer relationships and how to navigate the sometimes tricky waters of friendship. Students who sign up will be loaned a book to read and discuss dealing with topics that include peer pressure, cliques, being different, and fitting in.
Lunch Bunch (Kindergarten) 3-5 sessions
All kindergarten students are invited to participate in our informal “Lunch Bunch" program. Students whose parents sign them up are periodically invited to come eat their lunch in the counselor's office with a few of their classmates. Lunch bunches provide a chance for conversation and games. The focus is on developing friendship and social skills. Groups rotate each week to ensure that all students get an opportunity to participate.
Most children can benefit from participation in a small group. Students can be invited to join a group by parent request, teacher suggestion, or by student request. We do our best to work around your child’s schedule and not interrupt their academic learning. If you'd like for your child to participate, contact one of the counselors.